Is Marijuana a Depressant? Is Weed a Depressant?

Many people ask the question, “is marijuana a depressant?” without actually knowing exactly what a “depressant” is.  A “depressant” is a fairly technical medical term that means a drug that slows down the rate that your nerves send signals to each other.  Depressants decrease brain activity in certain parts of the brain and, spoiler alert: marijuana is a depressant.

is weed a depressant

Is Weed a depressant?  Is that really what you want to know?

Most people who ask the question “is weed a depressant?” actually want to know whether marijuana causes depression.  If that is you, please click here: Does marijuana cause depression?

Is Marijuana a depressant and what is a depressant anyhow?

The short answer is that, yes, marijuana is a depressant.  However, this does not mean that weed “causes” depression.  Not at all.  Let’s take a look at what a “depressant” actually is:

“Depressant” is short for “CNS depressant”.  The CNS is the central nervous system — so, basically, your brain and all the nerves in your body.  Depressants have a sedative or calming effect on the body.  They make us feel more tranquil.  Because of this, certain depressants are prescribed for sleep and anxiety disorders.  These include benzodiazapenes such as Valium, Xanax, Halcion, ProSom, and Clonazepam.  The “benzos” can be addictive over time.  I have heard mixed information on this.  Some doctors are extremely concerned about the potential addictive properties of them, while others believe that a regular low daily dose is unlikely to cause longterm ill effects.

Other prescription depressants are Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata.  These are said to have fewer potential addictive properties.  Also, barbiturates are prescription depressants.  These include Mebaral, Luminal Sodium, and Nembutal.  The latter are very serious medications — the possibility of accidental overdose is high, so they are usually just used in hospital settings.

Besides these tranquilizing depressants, the opioids are depressants.  And these are highly addictive as you may know.

Non-prescription depressants include alcohol.

Conclusion: So, is Marijuana a depressant?

Is weed a depressant?  Yes.  However, so are many other commonly used drugs and medications.  For example, alcohol is a depressant and opioids are depressants.  This does not mean it is to be used lightly, but it means that being a depressant is not necessarily bad in and of itself.

When people ask whether weed is a depressant, what people are often really wondering is: Does marijuana cause depression?

If what you really want to know is, “Is marijuana bad?” there is no easy answer.  If someone is genetically prone to schizophrenia, some studies have shown that marijuana can trigger schizophrenia that might not otherwise have shown up.  That is extremely bad.  It seems to affect different people differently, and the frequency of use seems to have an impact.

There simply have not been enough studies for us to determine with certainty who marijuana is safe for and what dosage is appropriate.  However, marijuana is similar to alcohol in that, for some people, it is extremely bad — for example, some people cannot drink alcohol because it triggers alcholism — some are allergic to alcohol — etc.  But for most people, the occasional drink is one of life’s little pleasures.  One glass of red wine per day has even been shown to be healthy for those with heart conditions.  Similarly, we might in the future have studies to show that marijuana helps with depression and/or anxiety.  Only time will tell.


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